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Adams accuses Government of ‘burying its head in the sand’ on the bailout debt

29 June, 2011 - by Gerry Adams

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD speaking in the Dáil today during statements on the European Council warned that “if the Government continues to follow the failed EU/IMF/ECB policy of austerity, including public sector cuts and increased taxes to pay a debt mountain no one believes is tenable, then this country will be where Greece is now in a very short time.”

Mr Adams accused the government of burying its “head in the sand, refusing to recognise the fact that you cannot borrow your way out a debt crisis, particularly one of this magnitude. It is irresponsible to insist on taking on more debt, at extortionate interest rates, while imposing ever more austerity policies on the Irish people.

“This failure of policy is compounded by the Minister for Finance’s flippant response that all of these problems can be sorted if only people would go out and shop! This from the same Minister for Finance who recently defended the oppressive Universal Social Charge!”

The TD for Louth and East Meath pointed out in respect of the bailout interest rate that: “At the conclusion of last week’s summit you have nothing to show for months of negotiations on this issue.”

Summary of Mr. Adams remarks:

“Taoiseach this government was elected on a promise to reduce the interest on the total bailout of the EU/IMF/ECB loan by 1%. This, it was claimed, would save the Irish taxpayer some €400 million.

“However the Minister for Finance this month told Pearse Doherty a different story. According to Minister Noonan this is not the government’s goal.

“The government now wants a 0.6% reduction on any further drawdown of EU money. This would save the state less than €200 million.

“The real issue in all of this is not a small reduction of 0.6% - it is the fact that our partners in Europe have imposed a 3% handling charge on the €45 billion in loans they are providing.

“This means that those who claim to be our friends and who say they want us to see our way through this current crisis, are actually profiting from this calamity to the tune of some €10 billion!

“Taoiseach if you want to negotiate – negotiate this!

“There can be no shying away from the reality that this state cannot afford the bailout and its punitive interest terms.

“The evidence of this is clear in the news headlines each day which reveal more cuts to our health and education system, more closures of hospital A&Es, reductions in wages being paid to low and middle income earners, and the introduction of stealth taxes.

“Moreover, Taoiseach, you agreed with the EU/IMF/ECB that you will bring in another €3.6 billion of cuts in the next budget.

“As part of this you are committed to a lowering of tax bands and credits as part of general tax increases amounting to €1.5 billion, and reductions in spending, which includes social expenditure reductions.

“Yet you and the Tánaiste keep telling citizens that you are not going to raise taxes or cut social welfare? It can’t be both.

“And what other cuts to public services will you introduce? How many more A&Es will have to be closed? How many Special Needs Assistants will lose their jobs and special needs children lose their lifeline to education? How many children next winter will be walking long roads and laneways to school?

“How many workers will have their wages slashed while having to pay the Universal Social Charge, a property tax and water charges and any other mean stealth tax you can concoct?

“The claim that Fine Gael is the party that will not raise taxes or Labour is the party that will defend workers, all ring hollow when set against the reality of the decisions that this government is taking.” ENDS

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